Outdoor Farm Lead

Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2020
 Full Time
 Small Scale
 Farming Practices
 All - Cropping
 Vegetables
 Other

Position Description

The Urban Canopy is a young and diverse organization working on cutting edge issues at the intersection of urban agriculture and sustainable food. We are seeking a skilled Outdoor Farm Lead of our 2-acre outdoor farm in Englewood.

We grow a diverse range of vegetables, storage crops, herbs, and flowers for our customers at farmers markets and LUCSA, for our pay-what-you-can farm stand, and for residents of nearby affordable housing and the St. Sabina food pantry.

We hold ourselves to a higher standard than organic certification requires, using only organic approved amendments and pesticides and as minimally as possible. oFarm prefers to build and maintain healthy biological systems, which we feed with compost including food scraps from our neighbors and Compost Club members each year. Everything is built, planted, maintained and harvested by hand and with small-farm hand tools. We provide a lush home to Bike-a-Bee hives, hawks and falcons, garter snakes, the famous south side parakeets, and a surprising variety of wild plants and fungi!

The ideal candidate has 3+ years of experience in production farming and managing a small team, excels at developing and practicing efficient hand-scale production methods, and is committed to environmental stewardship, local job creation, healthy-living initiatives, and community building. 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop and maintain a yearly budget with guidance from the Trunk
  • Guide the growth and direction of the branch; actively seek opportunities for improvement
  • Collaborative crop planning and continuous re-evaluation based on accurate data and analysis
  • Set and ensure appropriate harvest standards with farm crew and distribution branches
  • Hire, train and manage farm crew
  • Lead all daily activities including harvest, wash, pack, planting and maintenance
  • Develop and implement disease/pest/nutrient monitoring and response systems
  • Meet regularly to coordinate with the Trunk and other branches
  • Coordinate internal distribution and storage of produce
  • Set work schedule and coordinate vehicle use
  • Gather and analyze data to track crop viability and inform budget
  • Maintain a worm compost pile by hand
  • Build relations with neighbors, city departments, urban farm partners and broader community

Qualifications:

  • 3+ years production farming experience, ideally small/organic
  • 3+ years management experience
  • Able to lift 75+ lbs and work outdoors in all Chicago weather
  • Competence and experience with Excel/Google Sheets coding
  • Efficiency-minded, self-driven, hard worker, able to give and receive instructions critically
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, recognize opportunities and means for growth
  • Valid license + comfortable driving large passenger vans and small box trucks
  • Comfortable with the ambiguity and stressors common to a growing small business
  • Able to shift gears smoothly and maintain momentum on multiple tasks
  • Able to meet deadlines, keep organized, maintain responsive and effective communication
  • Commitment to high quality, healthy produce and food access justice
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